Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Dog

I'm sorry to say the little dog I found didn't make it. I feel terrible about that. She (it was a female) must have been out for a while--the condition of her coat suggests that--and she was obviously seriously injured. She died sometime between midnight on Tuesday and 7:30am on Wednesday. I decided to call her "Matilda"--the name just suggested itself to me. I buried her--no mean feat for me at 7:30 in the morning, before coffee. And, while that solved my dilemma, I can't help feeling sorry that some family has lost a pet and doesn't know it. She didn't have tags, so I can't notify anyone about her death. That makes me incredibly sad.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Found Dog

I'm on the horns of a financial and ethical dilemma. I found this dog in my backyard today. It's hurt and extremely dirty and I have no idea what to do with it (I say "it" because I can't tell if it's male or female yet). It's in my bathroom at the moment, sleeping in the shower.
I went to the store earlier today and went into the house through the back door; the dog wasn't there then. I tried to go outside between rainstorms and the dog was blocking the storm door. I tried to get the dog, but it crawled under the house. I was afraid it would die under there, so I waited until it came back out, wrapped it in a towel, and brought it in the house. At least, if it dies, I'll be able to get to it.
I'm guessing it was hit by a car, but I don't know when or where, or how long it's been in my yard. By the looks of it, the dog has been out in the tall grass for a while--it's coat is full of burrs and grass seed. If it survives, and becomes less touchy, I may try to bathe it, but I'll need a tub for that. Otherwise, the dirt and hair will clog my shower drain.
I just don't know what to do. I really don't want a dog--they take too much time, which I don't have, and need a fenced yard, which I also don't have. Besides, I have cats and a bird and don't really want to try to integrate a dog into the menagerie. I can't afford to take this dog to the vet right now, but I also know that, if I take it to the Humane Society, they'll probably euthanize it. This is not my dog, but I'm thinking it belongs to somebody who might be looking for it. And I don't want to be responsible for having someone else's pet put to sleep.
I'll have to think about this. I'm working all day tomorrow, so I'll just leave the dog in the bathroom with it's food and water (I did, oddly enough, have dog food--Golem, I was told, liked dog food, so I bought some for him; he only eats cat food now, though) and call the Humane Society in Natchitoches on Thursday to discuss this with them. I did call the local police, and the operator told me they couldn't take the dog because they didn't have a facility for animals here. We do have a leash law, I discovered, but no provision for dealing with animals without identification.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Please Come to Boston...

Well, I went. And it was HOT, hotter than Louisiana. I walked to Chinatown from the Westin Copley (a looooong walk) and back, and the temp was 93. I, of course, brought layers, anticipating 70-degree days. That didn't happen, so I only needed jackets for the hotel. Altogether, though, I had a wonderful time. On my way back from Chinatown, I ducked into Trinity Church to listen to the Friday organ recital. It was lovely. We also ate Italian in Little Italy (the North End), and that was exquisite. Our sessions for the American Religion and Literature Society were well-attended (20 people at least for each session), and I met some wonderful people.

I also wrote a poem (the second in a month). I'll probably revise it still, but here it is:

Going for Italian in the North End

I left home in summer
expecting winter here
but found the thrum of heat and sweat
that proves that where you go
is where you left.
And the walking takes you
to narrow stacked streets,
shops full of cheeses and cannoli,
St. Jude posters with dollars
pinned at the edges.
Diners' voices explode off walls,
spill out the door.
In the Peace Garden,
a rat skims across the sidewalk
and we continue to the T
to rock our way to sleep.

Not totally finished, but something to work on. And I might have an outlet for the Hawthorne paper I wrote in 2001! I'd love to see that published, so I better get to work revising it.

Summer school begins on Friday and I don't feel ready. I have my Moodle site organized, but haven't opened it to students yet. I may do that tomorrow or Tuesday. Wednesday I'll work at the bookstore, but I need to stop in at the college and file the paperwork for my trip to get reimbursed. Too much to do, and I'm about to have even less time.

The garden is flourishing; I hope to be able to harvest some vegetables in the next week or so.

And what's with the gas prices? It's almost not cost-effective for me to drive to work these days. I'm of the opinion that the petroleum companies are out to make big profits, regardless of what it does to consumers. Yeah, I know what they say, but I don't see them investing those profits in refineries.

Off the soapbox! Need to get ready for summer school!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Garden

I've been checking the garden every day, and I'm happy to say that everything is growing. I took some pictures today--the tomatoes and squash are going great guns; the bell peppers are developing more slowly. I also took pictures of the peach tree. It still has five peaches on it, so I haven't lost any of those.

The pictures are probably a bit fuzzy, but the first is of one of the tomato plants. Nearly all of them (I have 12) have tomatoes on them.

Next is a picture of one of the sqash plants. They are also doing well.

And, of course, I have a picture of a peach on the peach tree. I hope it does better next year, but I bought it after it bloomed and the peaches were already on it.

I feel as though I'm turning into one of those old ladies with her cats and her plants. But, this keeps me busy and out of trouble.

I managed to mow most of the front yard yesterday. I left one dense patch of grass--but it's close to the ditch and doesn't obscure anyone's view of the road.

I need to mow the back yard, but I'm a bit fearful of doing that. Last Saturday, I went out to mow the back yard and a rock flew up and broke the back windshield out of my car! I had to wait five days for the window to come in and pay my deductible; but, of course, that meant I had to file a claim with my insurance company, which means my rates will probably go up. I think I'll park the car in the front yard before I begin to mow.
Well, onto other things. I've been working on my summer class, thinking about my fall classes, preparing for a conference in Boston Thursday, and knitting. I've finished the components for a tank top. I'm waiting for the pieces to dry before I sew it together and I'll post a picture of it when it's finished. I managed to knit a hat and fingerless gloves for Boston; the temp there is about 20 degrees cooler than here, so I need to keep warm. And, of course, I have numerous other projects to keep me busy knitting on the plane, if I can bring my knitting needles with me (I think they lifted that restriction, but I need to check).
All in all, I'm too busy for words. I actually goofed off one day this week, if you call it "goofing off" when I knit and cook. One day, maybe, I'll feel as though I really don't need to do anything but eat and sleep, but that day isn't here yet.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wake-Up Call...

My friend, David Lewis, and another friend wrote a song with this title that was recorded by John Mayall. If you haven't heard it, you should go find it. It's great.

And, of course, it's a perfect title for my finals' week blog because, once again, I have these students who, all of a sudden, wake up and realize they probably won't pass the class they've been taking with me all semester, or that they probably won't make the grade they "need" to keep up their GPAs.

Well, I'm sorry, but it's too late for most of them. I understand illness, I understand procrastination, I understand "it slipped my mind," but now is not the time to ask for help or consideration. It's not as though I've added any "new" assignments to the schedule. I pretty much have it all mapped out at the beginning, so students shouldn't be surprised when they have work due.

Since last week, I have been grading papers, averaging grades, searching for grades I might have missed, looking for papers I might have overlooked (probably because they were turned in late), and I'm exhausted with excuses. I have one final to give and, after that, I'm turning in my grades. I need a break before my conference in Boston and before summer school begins on June 1. I just do not have the time or the inclination to cut anybody any slack at all.

I made it clear to my students that they were NOT to discuss their grades with me after dead week began. And what do I find in my email inbox? Questions about grades, of course. And, for my lit class, I went over the final exam questions--I read them out loud! And I have students bugging me to email them the questions because they missed the class. NO! If you didn't come to class or you didn't record them, don't ask. Enough already! Next thing they'll be asking me is to take the test for them. Please!

Every semester, I talk about personal resposibility, about being responsible for your own learning and your own success. At times, I feel that students want me to do everything for them; they want me to allow substandard work or give them a free pass if they can't do what I've asked them to do. I spend an enormous amount of time building my course sites--including information to help my students with their work. Half of them don't look at what I post and then get upset when I take points off their papers because they don't do what they are supposed to. How difficult is it to create a Works Cited page? Obviously, it's incredibly difficult because they haven't looked at the document I created and posted that shows them exactly how to do it!

And what's the deal about not asking for help during the semester? If you can't figure something out or have problems writing a thesis statement, why don't you ask the professor for help? It's part of our job. But please don't ask me to read your mind! I gave that up when I became mortal!

Yeah, my end-of-semester rant!

I love the students who hunger for knowledge for knowledge's sake--they're here for more than a grade. I just keep teaching for them.

Now I think I'll go check on the garden. Everything's growing in great leaps, and I can't wait for the first ripe tomato.